European Practice and Experience
Evaluating Sustainable Development series
Edited by Clive George and Colin Kirkpatrick
Chapter 9: Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability Assessment (MATISSE): A New European Project
Paul Weaver, Jan Rotmans, John Turnpenny, Alex Haxeltine and Andrew Jordan I. INTRODUCTION Sustainable development has become an over-arching policy target for the EU. It represents an essentially contested notion, because it is complex, normative, subjective and ambiguous. There are, nonetheless, a number of commonalities even in diverging interpretations, upon which the notion of sustainable development can be implemented in practice. These commonalities include: ● ● ● it is an inter-generational phenomenon it operates at multiple scale levels it covers social–cultural, economic and environmental dimensions. The overall challenge is to make the tensions between these scale levels and dimensions explicit and to develop strategies to alleviate them. The need for integrated sustainability assessments (ISAs) to support the development of integrated sustainability policies is a challenge not only for policy makers but also for science. The multi-dimensionality of sustainable development requires an integrated and interdisciplinary approach. In principle, integrated assessment (IA) is a suitable approach to address the phenomenon of sustainable development. IA is the science that deals with an integrated systems approach to complex societal problems embedded in a process-based context. IA aims to analyse the multiple causes and impacts of a complex problem in order to develop policy options for a strategic solution of the problem in question. IA itself involves a process whereby IA tools form the equipment to perform the assessment. The IA 149 150 Concepts and methods toolkit is rich, including both analytical tools/methods (such as models, scenarios, uncertainty and risk analyses), and participatory methods (such as focus...
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